Abstract

In a few short years, the World Wide Web has become a standard part of candidates' campaign tool kits. Virtually all candidates have their own sites, and voters, journalists, and activists visit the sites with increasing frequency. In this article, we study what candidates do on these sites in terms of the information they present by exploring one of the most enduring and widely debated campaign strategies: going negative. Comparing data from over 700 congressional candidate web sites, over three election cycles (2002, 2004, and 2006), with television advertising data, we show that candidates go negative with similar likelihoods across these media. We also find that while similar dynamics drive negativity on the web and in television advertising, there are some notable differences. These differences likely stem, in part, from the truncated sample available with television data (i.e., many candidates do not produce ads). Our results have implications for understanding negative campaigning and for the ways in which scholars can study campaign dynamics.

Publisher

Taylor & Francis

Publication Date

1-1-2010

Publication Title

Political Communication

Department

Politics

Document Type

Article

DOI

10.1080/10584600903502607

Keywords

Campaigns, Internet, Negative campaigning, Candidate web sites, New media

Document Version

post-print

Language

English

Format

text

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